“I just wanna kick back in a part of life when things get nice again, right now they’re frightening...”
It’s summer, haunted by the specter of Donald Trump’s finger hovering over the red button. It’s in this context that Imani Coppola – witchy seeker, bratty contrarian, musical chameleon – is airing her take-no-prisoners views about where we’re at on her new solo album, Hypocrites.
In what’s partly a continuation of her epic, dystopian previous album, The Glass Wall (2012), Coppola delivers a biting send-up of a bipolar world in profound denial – lost in cat memes and smartphone solipsism. The album’s breezy, summery sound belies an ominous undertone. Hypocrites is like a day at the beach gone wrong. It draws your eye to the long shadows in the sand: happy gone frantic, hope turned hysterical. With her signature candor, Coppola takes on all our modern-world afflictions, from Tinder culture on Swipe to “detox, retox” health obsessions and the hunger for a shortcut to enlightenment on IPA.
Imani Coppola brings her unique combination of funny and knowing, irritable and resilient to the task. A multi-talent who defies categorization, Coppola has been captivating us with her eclecticism and raw honesty ever since she released her dazzling debut album Chupacabra with Columbia Records at the age of 18. Her solo work – ranging from the funky/r&b-infused Afrodite to the punky Black & White Album and the dance and glam rock of The Glass Wall – is as impossible to pigeonhole as the many projects she’s been part of over the years (Peeping Tom, Little Jackie and most recently the Ruby Friedman Orchestra).
Coppola’s “banana-split personality” extends to her use of personas in her work. Reflecting the album’s “funny-haha/funny-sad” duality, Hypocrites flips between different voices. On introspective tracks like I’m an Artist and Mixed Nut we get a “nerdy rap voice, which is me – not trying to sound cool – being obnoxious, even.” Songs like Beach Boy and I’m the Shit, on the other hand, feature “a male character: the egomaniac boy who’s totally unconscious. I’m fascinated by that – I want to be that person,” says Coppola.
She describes the album as “an inside joke between me and the zeitgeist” – lyrically as well as musically, with its nods to trap and liberal use of autotune. “We’re all evolving into cyborgs,” says Coppola. “I can’t work out whether to kill myself over it or make art about it.”
Like her previous albums, Hypocrites is as much about a personal search for authenticity as it is about her irritation with the wider world. “No one gives a shit, nobody including myself – I guess that makes me a hypocrite,” Coppola sings on Mixed Nut. On Cray, she describes a future-gone-awry vision of herself as “talking to myself in the park, crazy pigeon lady.” But in that wildness beats the emotional heart of Coppola’s work – a glorious cacophony, forever skirting contradiction, candid about the world’s neurosis, candid about her own.
Imani Coppola is most often associated with her debut Top 40 hit "Legend of a Cowgirl," which launched her career at the age of 19. At the end of her freshman year at SUNY Purchase, where she had been majoring in studio composition, she was signed to Columbia Records and released her debut album Chupacabra shortly thereafter. In addition to its hit status at radio, "Legend of a Cowgirl” was also a key song in the blockbuster film "Bowfinger" starring Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy. Later that year, her second single, "I'm a Tree", was featured in the comedy film "Superstar" starring Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon. From there, Imani began a series of writing sessions with different producers and artists that displayed her diversity as a songwriter. Her passion and joy for the craft was infectious and made her a sought after co-writer and partner among many established producer/writers such as Michael Mangini, Hod David, Greg Wells and JR Rotem.
Early in her career, Imani was asked to attend "The Castle,” Miles Copeland's songwriting retreat in the South of France, where she did writing sessions with the Go Go's, Pat McDonald and Bon Jovi. While there she wrote "Count To Ten," which was used on the "Sex and the City" TV soundtrack.
Imani has been a go-to songwriter for years for Steve Greenberg, former president of Columbia Records and current owner of S-Curve records. In his own words, "Imani is my favorite songwriter in the world." She has written with many of Steve's priority projects, including; The Baha Men (where she penned and performed a rap in their second Single "You All Dat"), Diana Birch, Tom Jones, and is currently working with his newest artist, Rachel Crow, who was an X-Factor finalist.
In addition, Imani regularly collaborates with the Hanson’s in their Tulsa-based songwriting retreat, where she writes with Taylor, Zac and Isaac Hanson. She was chosen to ghost-write for Cyndi Lauper’s Broadway hit ‘Kinky Boots’ during its development stage. Alice Smith used two Imani songs for her critically acclaimed and Grammy nominated Sony debut, "For Lovers, Dreamers and Me.” And over the years she has perked the ears of many top music journalists with her whimsical yet down to earth approach in songs such as; "Woodstock" and “Fake is the New Real.”
When Imani isn't working on her own albums, she’s a prolific songwriter for TV, film and advertising, handcrafting songs for specific visual scenes and brands. She wrote and performed Target’s Christmas anthem, "Ms Claus," penned the theme song to VH1's New York Goes To Hollywood, had the main title song, "Move To The Beat" in the film I Don't Know How She Does It, and has had several songs on Grey’s Anatomy over the years. Imani and LA-based songwriter, Tim Myers, have co-written a series of successful songs together that have been synched in many different television shows.
Imani is currently in the studio with long-time collaborator Mike Mangini and his partner, Peter Zizzo, writing for up-and-coming YouTube artist Hailey Knox and gearing up for a number of other artist-driven writing projects. She is also outlining a musical adaptation of ‘Weird Science’ that she intends to develop and present to Broadway producers in the near future.
Imani's classical violin background has been a major influence in her approach to writing beautifully catchy melodies that bring a timeless quality to her compositions. That, along with her edgy, witty and often hilarious approach to writing lyrics, has made her a well sought after songwriter for artists, film, TV and commercials.
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Late Nights with Iain Lee, Pod Cast - TalkRadio UK September 2016 (link)
Bitch Media September 2016 (link)
Stargayzing October 2014 (link)
USA Today November 2012 (link)
Rolling Stone November 2012 (link)
Innocent Words November 2012 (link)
Pop Matters December 2011 (link)
Lucky Mag December 2011 (link)
The Aquarian November 2011 (link)
The Sloppy Dog August 2011 (link)
Popseed UK August 2011 (link)
“Pain Killa, Imani Coppola. Coppola returns this week with The Glass Wall, featuring this red-hot, industrial-tinged gem (and sly peace anthem).”
- USA TODAY
“Little Jackie is absolutely brilliant.”
“Lush, lilting 1960s soul samples and buoyant nonsense-syllable choruses to back up her insouciant, articulate takes on relationships in various stages of disaster…her songwriting is modern and quick-tongued.”
- New York Times
“A thoroughly enticing portrait of urban singledom…an abundance of sparkling snark”
- Entertainment Weekly
“This endearing debut from Imani Coppola’s latest side project deftly explores the ferocious singer’s favorite themes […] over programmer Adam Pallin’s sprightly soul interpolations.”
**** (four star review)
- Time Out New York
“Has both a contemporary and classic sound, thanks to its funky Motown vibe mixed with hip-hop beats.”
- Associated Press
"cks on brain-dead debutantes and deadbeat boyfriends rarely feel like this much fun. Bubbly blend of swinging hip-hop rhythms, bright R&B horns and sassy soul-siren vocals.”
"This debut has all the ingredients of a summer smash: catchy melodies, kick back-beats and whip smart lyrics. It’s so good you’ll want to hang out on the stoop long after summer’s through.”
- Modern Tonic